Do animal wastes have the potential to reach surface waters?

An EPA permit is not required. However, any discharge or release of pollutants from your operation to surface water or ground water could be the source of a problem. You can self-assess your operation using Home*A*Syst from the ISDA.

For technical assistance, see the Agencies and Organizations page for general contact information for the Idaho Department of Agriculture, the Idaho Division of Environmental Quality, the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Univesity of Idaho Cooperative Extension System.

More specific links:

ISDA — Dairy Program Information

EPA — Animal Feeding Operations


IDEQ — Water Quality index

ISCC — Water Quality index

Does the operation have more than 300 animal units?
Equivalents of 300 AU:
300 feeder cattle
200 milk cows
30,000 laying hens
16,000 turkeys
750 swine
150 horses
3,000 sheep
1,5000 ducks
Are animals confined more than 45 days per year?
Is the feeding area void of forage?
Your operation is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and requires an EPA permit. Contact [(208) 736-2175], State Nutrient Management Coordinator, at the ISDA in Twin Falls for further information.

Is Your Surface Water Impacted?

Animal waste discharges which reach surface water usually contribute to or cause water quality problems. Such wastes are typically very high in bacteria, amonia, and other nutrients. Concentrations of ammonia are frequently high enough to be toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Even though your facility is not subject to EPA general permit requirements, allowing a discharge may make you subject to other laws and regulations. For example, any discharge of pollutants from a feedlot or dairy which exceeds Idaho water quality standards is in violation of state law and may be subject to enforcement action.

Ground water

There are several different pathways that can transmit livestock waste pollutants to your ground water and, possibly, affect your drinking water as well. Improperly constructed or poorly sealed waste impoundments (lagoons, ponds) can allow a direct pathway. Over-application of manure to fields can result in nutrient leaching, particularly nitrate, to the ground water. To learn more about these risks you are encouraged to do a self-assessment with Idaho Home*A*Syst.